4 ‘Bikarnis’ Are On An Expedition Titled ‘Road to Mekong’ To Promote Indian Tourism
- IWB Post
- February 12, 2018
Four Hyderabadi women bikers, being hailed as the ‘Bikarnis’, have set out on a 16,992 km-long overland expedition titled ‘Road to Mekong’.
The expedition ‘Road to Mekong’ would last for seven weeks and would be set across seven South-East-Asian nations. The ‘Bikarnis’ who started from Paryatak Bhavan Hyderabad will ride through India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. During the expedition, they will also visit 19 different UNESCO world heritage sites which are located in seven different countries. A crew of four members would accompany them to document the whole journey. They seek to promote exchange tourism to 35 UNESCO sites in India.
Jai Bharathi, ASD Shanthi, Shilpa Balakrishnan and Piya Bahadur are the four ‘Bikarnis’. Jai Bharathi would lead the expedition. She is the first woman to ace the GoUnesco challenge in 2012. She visited all the 28 Unesco world heritage sites in India in a span of one year for the same. Talking about the expedition, she said, “Our ride will highlight safe tourism opportunities for women travellers in India and publicise road trips as a viable option for tourism.”
Mumbai-based Shilpa Balakrishnan is an adventure enthusiast and boasts that travelling is something that runs in her DNA and has travelled extensively with her dad since her childhood which has taught her a lot. She has been on a 27000km all India ride in 2016-17 and apparently that has only accentuated her pursuit of adventure. “I always loved to travel and take up new challenges”, she said in an interview with The Hindu last year.
Talking about the aim of the expedition as well as the schedule, Priya Bahadur said, “At selected UNESCO sites and tourist centres, we will promote adventure tourism in India, especially in the newly formed state of Telangana by screening travel videos and documentary films that showcase the rich legacy of the country. We will also stress on our shared historical and cultural roots as we interact with the youth wherever we go.”
A.S.D. Shanthi is a police constable and stated that the promotion of Telangana is the main motive behind the expedition. “We will be riding 16,992 km across India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh to promote tourism in India and also showcase its rich culture and traditions,” said the ‘Bikarnis’ at a press conference on Saturday. They stated that the desire “to push their limits and seek adventure in foreign lands” was the main motivation behind ‘Road to Mekong’.